It all started when I stopped eating solid foods. It wasn't by choice, I know only a few fanatics who would willingly choose to give up solid foods, and even they admit it's something they only did while too young to know better.

But I was recovering from an intestinal disorder and to help speed the process, I went on a liquid diet for two weeks (if that doesn't seem long to you, try it yourself!).

Not surprisingly, during this time I thought a lot about food. OK, so I thought of little else. And it made me realize just how important, yet also how ubiquitous food is—and how we so often take it for granted. You can't watch TV for more than a minute without seeing a food commercial, or someone on a sit-com eating a brownie or Pizza (on a recent "must-see-TV" night, characters on every show mentioned or ate both!).

Yet many of us reach the point where we get bored with food. "What's for dinner?" we ask, not knowing, sometimes not caring.

"You don't know what you've got till it's gone," hit me in the stomach. I was literally weak with hunger, and it reminded me, in a way I couldn't avoid, that food is the "gift of life," not just the gift of sustenance.

So, while unable to eat, I was able to read about food. And in that spirit, I asked friends to write about their most memorable meals, offer favorite recipes, or just tell me what they ate for dinner last night. It's my hope that reading these responses will remind you of the wonder of food, so you'll appreciate it and not take it for granted.

We're amazingly lucky to live in a time (and most of us with computer access also live in a place) where food is not only available, it's abundant. Supermarkets are stocked with almost everything we can imagine, in-season and often out of it. No time in history has allowed so many people so much access to so much food. Yet we take it for granted.

And we shouldn't, because although so many of us have food readily available, most people in the world do not. Most people suffer from hunger. This doesn't mean they're just hungry, we all get hungry, it means they're hungry and don't get food. If this concerns you, please give money to a local food bank, because there are even people within walking distance of your supermarket who can't afford the wonders inside. To find a food bank near you (you can donate either food or money), visit Second Harvest, a national food bank.

And when you can afford the wonder of food, please appreciate every bite.

Come read about:

Memorable Meals

Favorite Recipes

If you'd like to contribute a piece, just e-mail me

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